Knitted polar bear hat

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Make this fun hat with our free pattern from Rachel Henderson’s new book, Animal Hats. This superb book features 25 fun hats to knit, crochet or make from fleece.

If you like knitting in the round, this sweet polar bear hat is the perfect project for you, and it’s ideal for when conditions are arctic.

Size: Adult (one size)

Materials needed:
~ Yarn A: 1 x 50g ball of Rowan
Cocoon shade 801, Polar.
~ Yarn B: 1 x 50g ball of Rowan
Cocoon shade 802, Alpine.
~ Oddment of black yarn.
~ Round marker.
~ Stuffing or toy filling.

~ 1 set of 5mm (US 8) double-pointed
~ 5mm (US 8) 40cm/15 ½ in
circular needle.
~ 4.5mm (US 7) crochet hook.

19 sts and 25 rows to 10cm/4in
square over st st using 5mm
(US 8) needles.


Earflaps (make 2):
Using 2 x 5mm (US 8) dpns and yarn A, cast on 5 sts.
Row 1: k1, kfb, k1, kfb, k1 (7 sts).
Row 2: and every alt row: p to end.
Row 3: k1, kfb, k3, kfb, k1 (9 sts).
Row 5: k1, kfb, k5, kfb, k1 (11 sts).
Row 7: k1, kfb, k7, kfb, k1 (13 sts).
Row 9: k1, kfb, k9, kfb, k1 (15 sts).
Row 11: k1, kfb, k11, kfb, k1 (17 sts).
Row 13: k1, kfb, k13, kfb, k1 (19 sts).
Row 14: p to end.
Continue straight in st st until earflap measures 9cm/31/2in.
Leave sts on spare needle.

Using 5mm (US 8) circular needle and yarn A, cast on 8 sts.
With RS facing, knit across 19 sts of first earflap, cast on 23 sts,
k across 19 sts of second earflap, then cast on 8 sts (77 sts).
Join into a circle and place round marker. Work in the round in
st st (k every round) until hat measures 14cm/51/2in from cast on
edge. Begin shaping. (Change to dpns when necessary.)
Round 1: *k5, k2tog, rep from * to end (66 sts).
Round 2: and every alt round: k to end.
Round 3: *k4, k2tog, rep from * to end (55 sts).
Round 5: *k3, k2tog, rep from * to end (44 sts).
Round 7: *k2, k2tog, rep from * to end (33 sts).
Round 9: *k1, k2tog, rep from * to end (22 sts).
Round 10: *k2tog, rep from * to end (11 sts).
Round 11: k2tog to last st, k1.
Break off yarn, thread it through the remaining sts and fasten
off securely.

Knitted mouth:
Using 4 x 5mm (US 8) dpns and yarn A, cast on 24 sts (8 sts on
each of 3 needles). Join into a circle and place round marker.
K 4 rounds.
Round 5: *k2tog, repeat from * to end of round (12 sts).
Round 6–7: k to end.
Round 8: *k3tog, repeat from * to end of round (4 sts).
Break off yarn, thread it through the remaining sts and fasten off

Ears (make 2):
Using 4 x 5mm (US 8) dpns and yarn A, cast on 30 sts (10 sts on
each of 3 needles). Join into circle and place round marker.
K 6 rounds.
Round 7: *k2tog, repeat from * to end (15 sts).
Rounds 8–10: k to end.
Round 11: *k2tog, repeat from * to last st, k1 (8 sts).
Round 12: k to end.
Round 13: *k2tog, repeat from * to end (4 sts).
Break off yarn, thread it through the remaining sts and fasten off

Making up:
Weave in all ends. Using 4.5mm (US 7) crochet hook and yarn B, work 2 rows of double crochet (see page 30) around the edge of the hat and earflaps. Position the ears on the sides of the hat 5cm/2in from the centre-top, using the picture opposite to guide you, and attach them to the hat using an overstitch. Stuff the muzzle with toy filling. Position it on the front of the hat using the picture opposite to guide you, and attach it using an overstitch.

Embroider the nose and mouth using satin stitch and backstitch. Embroider the eyes using satin stitch.

Make 2 I-cords (see below), each 25cm/10in in length, using
yarn A. Attach a cord to each earflap.

Using yarn B, make 2 pom poms (see page 39), each with an
8cm/31/4in diameter. Attach 1 pom pom to the end of each cord.

Cast on the required number of stitches onto 1 of your dpns and knit all stitches. Now slide all of your stitches worked to the other end of the dpn in your right hand and transfer that needle to your left hand. With the working yarn at the back of the work, insert your right needle into the first stitch on the left needle. Pull the working yarn tightly up to the tip of the right needle and knit that stitch. Continue to knit the rest of the stitches along the row. Repeat in this way until you have the required length of fabric.

Extracted with permission from Animal Hats by Rachel Henderson, published by Kyle Books and distributed in New Zealand by New Holland,  RRP $34.99.

Rachel Henderson’s new book, Animal Hats, is packed full of fun projects that show you how to create hand-stitched hats using both fleecy fabrics and woolly yarns. It doesn’t matter if you’re a total beginner or an experienced stitcher, there are designs suitable for all and there are no limits to where your creativity can go… a fox, a dragon, a lamb, a polar or a panda bear…find your inner animal and make a hat to make them smile.



  1. Zsuzsa Matika says

    I’m just wondering why it is for adults? I don’t know any grown woman who would wear a hat like this, but many many little kids who would love to have a polar bear hat….

    • There is apparently a big trend at the moment for teenagers and young adults to wear animal hats, as started by celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg.

    • I would imagine making it up on size 6 needles and adjusting the length would make it work for smaller people. This is a darling pattern ~ thanks for sharing .

    • Haha yes indeed. I think it would be more suited to children, as well, what with the snout sticking out like that. =P It’s super adorable though, and yeah, as Laurie said, can be adjusted. =)

    • I would wear this hat in a heartbeat! Life is just too short not to have fun and a good laugh. Last year I made my husband a fox-head hat and I now have a long list of friends begging me to make one for them and a store owner who has requested that I make some for her shop–all for adults!

    • Hi! I want to make this hat for an infant, but I am a beginner and am uncertain how to properly reduce the size. Any tips?

    • I have many hats like this…..and I’m 62! I’m old, not dead.

  2. Where’s the pattern information for the nose/muzzle??

  3. I agree, would love to make for my grand kids. This is an awesome looking hat. Love it!

  4. I noticed that there are certain rounds missing. Is this just a typo with the numbers, or should there be something in between?

    • Hi Autumn. No the rows are there, but it may be a little confusing. If you look at Row 2, for example, it says “Row 2 and every alt row p to end” So Rows 4, 6, 8, etc are “p to end”.

  5. sorry
    what is kfb?

  6. My daughter will absolutely love this. She is an adult with a room full of polar bears! I know she will wear this! I can hardly wait to get started!

  7. Great pattern! Thanks for sharing…

  8. Merisha De Voux says

    Thanks for this great pattern!!
    How do you reduce the size for children? Would like to knit this for my nephew

  9. I now have orders for 1 grandaughter & 2 daughters for Christmas . I’m making one for me after the holidays. Thank You so much.

  10. I have made this pattern using my handspun gray Jacob wool. Jacob spun Jacob. Turned out great ! Although I made tassels for the icord ends because I detest pompons on hats with the fire of a thousand burning suns.

  11. I was wondering if there was a pattern for a babies size hat?

  12. This is Lindsay again. When putting the ear flaps and casting on the circular needles do I need to do a two needle cast on? Because, there is no tail to do the thumb cast on method.

  13. Would make a good koala hat with a few adaptation in colour.
    thanks for sharing

  14. Hi! Does anyone have this Polar Bear Hat in an infant/new borne size? Thank you so much!!

  15. Misty Harrison says

    I’m from the US, so maybe it’s for that reason I’m having trouble with the measurements on this pattern. When it says knit until ear flap is 9cm/31/2in, then again knit until hat is 14cm/51/2in. #1 – what do the 31 and the 51 in the middle mean? #2 – 9cm = 3.6 in (not 2 as printed) and 14cm = 5.5 in (not 2 as printed). This has me confused. Am I missing something?

    • Bettie Newbern says

      Misty – 14cm/51/2in. = 5.5 or 5 1/2″ & 9cm/31/2in = 3.5 or 3 1/2″. Hope this helps. Spacing can be a problem sometimes.

  16. I love this hat and I am ready to make this hat for my grandson but how to make it work for a little guy. There are a lot of pieces so I don’t know what to do about sizing. Can you point me where there might be a pattern just for kids?

  17. I know many people are complaining about this pattern and the ones in the book because they don’t include children sizes. I definitely think that a book should have all sizes covered, but I’m a knitter who always changes patterns to suit myself. Why not knit it in worsted or sport weight to get a tiny hat?

    Personally, my boys have big heads, so I would still sew an adult size for my 5 and 8 year old. And it will fit. My husband (the reason they have big heads) would need 10 additional stitches added to the adult size just to get it to fit. (Luckily,
    he prefers his hats without animal.)

    If you are fiber artist, you should know how to alter patterns to create a custom fit.

    But if you’re a pattern writer, you should also include some customization notes for beginners. Excluding children sizes on animal hats is like making a Scooby Doo movie and rating it R. Yes, adults like it, but you are missing out on a huge section of your audience, and losing money.


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